Like the Internet as a whole, the landscape of SEO has undergone significant transformation in recent years.
The Internet is a phenomenon unlike anything else in the history of mankind. It's advanced through childhood and the terrible teens and is showing signs of becoming a responsible, multifaceted adult. Denver SEO (search engine optimization) has been experiencing the same growing pains as the Internet. There are tremendous opportunities and challenges facing business owners, online marketers, and website designers alike, but the potential rewards are equally great.
The Internet would not exist as it does today without search engines. It would resemble a library stuffed to the rafters with an infinite supply of information but without an index. Search engines make it possible to find information when it's needed. Websites and search engines seem as though they have always been with us but actually only date to the 1990s. Google's domain name was only registered in 1997.
When people first began using search engines, it became quickly apparent that most people only looked at the first page of the search engine results. When businesses began developing websites for marketing purposes, the challenge was, and still is, making the website visible to those searching for that product or service.
The algorithms used by Google and the other search engines were simpler, leading to a very technical approach. It was all about figuring out what the machine wanted and supplying it. The focus of just about every SEO company was spider-centric, using keywords to make websites easy for the spiders to find. Some took that much too far, stuffing content with keywords until it bore little resemblance to text that a human would want to read or find useful.
When it first became known that links added to a website's authority and helped increase page ranking, adding large numbers of links was the initial response. Google eventually responded by penalizing sites with spammy links. Today, links are more important than ever, used as a measurement of a website's influence and expertise, but the quality of the links matters, not the quantity.
Two technological advances highlight the evolution of Denver web design and SEO: smarter search engines and the universal acceptance and use of mobile devices.
Thanks to advances in machine learning and semantic search, search engines are taking a more "human" approach. Instead of only searching for specific keywords, the search engines are more intuitive. They are displaying those websites that best supply the answers the user is looking for rather than only those websites using a specific keyword. This allows a website to rank for many related keywords in addition to those keywords that were optimized on the page.
The technical aspects of SEO and Web design in Denver are just as important as ever, but the strategy has changed. Established and proven best practices such as keyword optimization and link building are essential, but the overall focus has changed from spider-centric to user-centric. This is a far better approach, focusing on what the user needs rather than on simply looking at the mechanics of the website. A website today needs a lot more than a perfectly optimized landing page to be successful. SEO today is about promoting quality content and the organization's brand.
Mobile devices have changed how people use computers and the Internet, currently accounting for about 65% of digital media time. Last year, there were officially more mobile Google searches than desktop searches. Any business that still has a website not fully optimized for mobile has told over half of their potential customers that they're not interested in their business.
Consumer behavior has changed dramatically. They look at reviews before making a buying decision and like interactive content. Consumer use of social media is expanding exponentially, creating new opportunities and challenges for content marketing and SEO strategies. An organization must be visible to consumers on the social media channels and content platforms they are using in addition to ranking highly on the search engine results page. In brief, go where the customers are and give them what they want.
The Future - Content Marketing, Not SEO
"Content marketing" will probably be a more accurate description than "search engine optimization" for the strategies employed to promote a business and their brand. Rather than being a single entity, content marketing will encompass all promotional strategies. The company's message and brand will need to be consistent across all channels and delivered in the form best suited to individual consumers. Demographic targeting will be increasingly precise.
Interactivity will continue to grow in significance. Consumers want to be involved and will not be engaged by static text-based content. The content must be able to be viewed as and where the user desires. Content will become a user experience, and it must be a good one.
There is no reason to expect that the speed of change will lessen. Those who remain alert and receptive to changes, whether business owners, website designers, or online marketers, will be positioned to respond to and take advantage of those changes. It has always been important to understand the technical aspects of creating a successful website and promoting a brand, and that will still be true. However, the focus will be on the consumer more than the technical aspects.
Competition will only become more intense, but those who make an effort to understand the new realities of SEO in Denver will be able to provide the expertise needed to grow their client's business.